Or the result of a system that has made it very hard for women who don’t conform, to compete.
Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino is no stranger to controversy. The top pound for pound women’s fighter and Invicta FC featherweight champion was fined and suspended for steroid use early in her MMA career whilst fighting for Strikeforce. Something she admits was a stupid thing to do but claims she did for weight loss reasons and not to build muscle.
Whatever her reasons at the time, it’s a fact that since she signed with UFC in March 2015 she has been tested 14 times by the USADA under the UFC anti-doping program introduced on July 1st 2015. Three times in 2015 and eleven in 2016.
Whilst her first 13 tests have come back clean the 14th, an out-of-competition sample taken early in December 2016 has returned a positive result. What the substance is hasn’t been revealed by official sources but Justino’s personal web page says it’s for spironolactone. She claims to have been prescribed the diuretic by her doctor as part of post-fight treatment for the weight loss she underwent in order to make the 140 pound weight requirement for her most recent UFC fight. A 140-pound catchweight event on September 24th 2016 against Lina Lansberg.
This was the second time in as many fights for the UFC that she’s had to cut weight just to get a fight. She doesn’t, or didn’t, naturally qualify for either of the only 2 UFC women’s divisions at the time (their male fighters have 8 weight divisions). Justino normally fights at 145 pounds but agreed to make the cut both times in order to take part in these particular fights, held in her home country Brazil. Whether or not she ultimately made the right decision health wise however remains to be seen.
But the good news is that the UFC finally appears to have taken notice of the fact that expecting these women to cut weight like this is neither healthy nor practical, and have introduced a featherweight section to cater for them. Which is great for those women currently competing in other martial arts or boxing who weigh around 155 pounds and want to make the transition to MMA.
So what’s all this fuss about losing weight?? Whilst 5 pounds may not seem like all that much to lose, and for most of us it generally isn’t, for an athlete in prime condition it’s a whole different scenario. That’s because the average person can usually afford to lose at least part of that amount in body fat. For someone with very little body fat though the weight loss has to come from elsewhere. With an athlete that’s invariably muscle because their body fat score is already very low and if they lose much more of that they’re in serious trouble. A body fat score of 0 for instance is typically found in people who are literally starving to death.
For someone like Cris, whose muscle likely accounts for around 40% of her weight (or around 58 pounds) when she’s in training, losing 5 lbs equates to losing nearly 10% of her muscle mass. Muscle mass that she needs to be able to perform at her peak. Inevitably that much reduction in muscle mass is likely to have a flow on effect on her strength and fighting abilities. Like her diet coach explains – for these athletes it involves more than just cutting weight; it’s about being able to cut weight and still be capable of performing. A very delicate balancing act indeed, which is why she has a dedicated diet coach!
So what is on the menu for Cris when she’s trying to make weight cuts? According to her diet coach, he makes sure she has enough energy to get through workouts that are designed to lose the water weight she needs to lose to make the 140-pound cut. So she’ll eat mainly fruit, with small portions of lean meat topped up with coconut oil. No mention of supplements but we wonder if she is taking them, what would she choose?
For the last couple of months we’ve been hearing stories about how guys in Hollywood such as Vin Diesel and Zac Efron or top NBA players like Chris Paul have been using two insane new products to lose body fat and add some incredible muscle bulk in mere weeks. Needless to say, when word of these ‘wonder-products’ leaked out men everywhere went crazy over them and their popularity simply exploded! Understandably, our readers have also been going mad over them too and why wouldn’t they?